High School Football

Dec. 4 state high school football finals matchups

Class 3A

Belfry vs. Central

Kickoff: Noon (EST) Cantrall ratings: Belfry 67.3; Central 66.9

Records: Belfry 10-4; Central 8-6

History lesson: Belfry won state titles in 2003 and '04, and was runner-up in 1985, '86 and 2007. Central took back-to-back championships in 2007 and '08.

New-look Pirates: Belfry's signature style has been power football, with a three-back set churning out yardage behind a big offensive line. Not this year. "We're more finesse-oriented, a little quicker, not as big," Coach Philip Haywood said. Central Coach Ty Scroggins noted the difference from the Belfry team that his Yellowjackets beat in the 2007 finals. "Belfry looks like it's running the option more, trying to get the corners more, and a little quicker. Whatever they do, you know they'll be well-coached."

Belfry's leaders: QB Tyler Williams has thrown for 636 yards and 8 TDs, and run for 617 yards and 8 TDs. Jeffre Pruitt has rushed for 1,347 yards and 13 TDs, and has 251 receiving yards and 4 TDs. Trey Willis has run for 900 yards and 11 TDs. On defense, Sani Warren has 6 interceptions, and Williams has 6 fumble recoveries. Micah Mahon and Payton Mullins lead in tackles.

Central's leaders: QB Tajh Milliken has passed for 1,016 yards and 10 TDs, and run for 248 yards and 5 TDs. Anthony Wales is the centerpiece of the offense, having rushed for 2,750 yards and 35 TDs. Korry Cornelius and Tim Witchard Jr. are the leading tacklers.

Key to victory: Central has an overall edge in speed and athleticism. "They can score at any time from anywhere on the field," Haywood said, "so a big key will be keeping the ball in front of us."

Class 5A

Christian County vs. Highlands

Kickoff: 4 p.m. (EST) Cantrall ratings: Christian County 85.3; Highlands 91.1

Records: Christian County 12-2; Highlands 13-1

History lesson: Christian County won titles in 1982 and '84, and was runner-up in 2008. Highlands has 19 championships, including the last three in a row.

Bluebirds of happiness: Highlands is on a roll, even for a program steeped in tradition. It's going for the first four-peat in school history, and ninth title in the last 15 years. The Bluebirds have won 53 of their last 54 games against Kentucky competition.

Christian County's leaders: QB Anthony Hickey, a quick-silver point guard in basketball, is a blur on the football field, too. He's thrown for 1,671 yards and 18 TDs, and run for 932 yards and 13 TDs. Marcoreyon "Bubba" Tandy has 42 catches, 676 yards, 7 TDs, and Anthony Buckner has 38 receptions for 877 yards and 10 TDs. Alex Davie has rushed for 718 yards and 5 TDs. On defense, Tandy has 6 interceptions that he's returned for 224 yards.

Highlands' leaders: QB Patrick Towles, grandson of baseball Hall of Famer and U.S. Senator Jim Bunning, has passed for 2,418 yards and 21 TDs, and run for 715 yards and 13 TDs. Jordan Streeter has rushed for 586 yards and 6 TDs. Daniel Gold has 37 catches for 835 yards and 9 TDs, and Austin Sheehan has 28 for 655 yards and 4 TDs. On defense, Drake Bruns has 5 picks. Coach Dale Mueller considers depth a strength of this year's team. "We've got more varsity-caliber players than ever, and that's allowed us to be completely two-platoon for the first time."

Key to victory: The Highlands' mystique is real. The Bluebirds have won so many championships, many opponents are psyched-out before the kickoff. Christian County needs to make good things happen early to stoke its own confidence.

Class 6A

Male vs. Trinity

Kickoff: 8 p.m. (EST) Cantrall ratings: Male 86.1; Trinity 99.9

Records: Male 11-3; Trinity 13-1

History lesson: Trinity has won 19 state titles, including seven since 2001. Male is a six-time champ, three in the early 1960s, three since 1993.

Ignoring the chatter: Just about everybody is predicting a lopsided victory for Trinity, but Coach Bob Beatty said the Shamrocks aren't listening. "We talk all the time about drawing a box around ourselves and not letting outside influences in. This isn't Las Vegas. We don't have bookings on who's favored. We've got a 48-minute span on Saturday night to lock in and focus on to take care of business. If we do that, we hope good things will happen. But (Male) is doing the same thing."

Male's leaders: QBs Lorentez Barbour and Tyler Adams have combined to pass for 1,023 yards and 13 TDs. The Bulldogs have a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Ronjae Morris (1,172 yards, 11 TDs) and John Giddens (1,094 yards, 10 TDs). Soloman Logan and Eric Palmer lead the defense in tackles.

Trinity's leaders: Sophomore QB Travis Wright has thrown for 2,558 yards and 31 TDs, and sophomore WR James Quick is his top target with 80 catches for 1,081 yards and 15 TDs. Derek Bishop has rushed for 1,679 yards and 25 TDs. On defense, Timmy Smith and Ryan White each have four interceptions.

Key to victory: Male can't allow Trinity to deliver an early knock-out punch. The Bulldogs' only hope is to still be in contention heading into the fourth quarter.

belfry (10-4)

Coach: Philip Haywood

Prestonsburg L, 21-6

Cov. Holy Cross W, 20-14

Ashland Blazer L, 36-22

Letcher Central W, 40-20

Whitley Co. W, 27-21

Pikeville W, 55-24

Pike Central W, 34-18

Sheldon Clark L, 22-6

East Ridge W, 52-0

Johnson Central L, 42-7

PLAYOFFS

West Carter W, 42-7

Mason Co. W, 27-14

Russell W, 42-14

Somerset W, 28-23

Central (8-6)

Coach: Ty Scroggins

Seneca L, 47-32

Lafayette W, 25-19

Ballard L, 42-14

Male L, 36-0

Manual L, 31-21

St. Xavier L, 35-20

Elizabethtown W, 42-35

Moore W, 70-41

Shawnee W, 61-0

PRP L, 41-7

Playoffs

Spencer Co. W, 38-10

Moore W, 57-27

North Oldham W, 32-14

Paducah Tilghman W, 35-18

christian County (12-2)

Coach: Steve Lovelace

Warren Central W, 15-8

Clarksville, Tenn. W, 26-13

Henderson Co. W, 42-14

PRP W, 39-32

Hopkinsville W, 42-15

Madisonville W, 27-24

Owensboro W, 21-0

Ohio Co. W, 71-7

Oakland, Tenn. L, 35-8

Boyle Co. L, 49-33

PLAYOFFS

Barren Co. W, 54-0

Bowling Green W, 14-10

Warren Central W, 27-26

John Hardin W, 45-20

Highlands (13-1)

Coach: Dale Mueller

Manual W, 45-14

Ryle W, 29-14

Beechwood W, 50-24

Withrow, Ohio W, 34-27

Boone Co. W, 55-0

Eastern W, 46-0

Dixie Heights W, 42-14

Covington Catholic W, 27-20

Scott W, 33-7

Ryle L, 28-26

PLAYOFFS

Woodford Co. W, 70-8

Dixie Heights W, 42-28

Johnson Central W, 21-14

Harlan Co. W, 34-6

mALE (11-3)

Coach: Chris Wolfe

Floyd Central, Ind. W, 33-14

Eastern W, 35-28

Western W, 17-16

Central W, 36-0

St. Xavier L, 14-7

Ballard W, 26-20

Dunbar (Dayton, Oh.) L, 19-13

Southern W, 50-6

Fern Creek W, 38-23

Manual L, 21-14

PLAYOFFS

Apollo W, 52-0

Graves Co. W, 42-20

Henderson Co. W, 14-7

Scott Co. W, 28-12

Trinity (13-1)

Coach: Bob Beatty

Lawrence North, Ind. W, 56-23

Manual W, 42-7

Cincinnati Elder W, 22-20

Cincinnati St. X L, 17-10

Bowling Green W, 14-12

St. Xavier W, 48-0

Seneca W, 63-14

Eastern W, 49-0

Ballard W, 56-21

Lexington Catholic W, 56-7

PLAYOFFS

PRP W, 55-6

Manual W, 48-13

St. Xavier W, 35-7

Ryle W, 28-9

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